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Evan Grant’s defense of Michael Young: he’s a leader and is just like Paul Molitor

Dec 11, 2012, 11:42 AM EST

Michael Young bats

Our banned friend Halladay’s Bicepts — we talk on Twitter, and if you miss him, give him a follow — alerted me to the fact that Michael Young‘s staunchest defender in the press, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, was on WIP in Philly with my friend Angelo Cataldi this morning.  The purpose: to tell Phillies fans exactly what they can expect from their starting third baseman. The audio is embedded below. Or, if you prefer, you can listen to it at WIP.

I’ll give Grant this much credit: he was straight about the fact that Young’s range is toast and that, while Young may look good defensively out there because he handles the balls he can get to and has a decent arm, a lot of balls are going to get by him. Beyond that, however, here was Grant’s case for Young:

  • He’s a leader;
  • He’s motivated;
  • He’ll probably hit .300 again;
  • He’s a leader;
  • He’s a leader;
  • He wants to get 3,000 hits and make the Hall of Fame;
  • He’s a leader.

Really: listen to the interview. I think I actually understated the leadership stuff. According to Grant, Young is the Napoli Whisperer.

Grant went on to note that Michael Young has often been compared to Paul Molitor and that, like Molitor, Young was traded for the first time after his age-35 season. I have heard such comparisons. And there is a decent basis for them inasmuch as Young, like Molitor, played a lot of positions, hit .300 and slugged .444 through age 35.  Now, to be fair, Molitor got on base more, stole 412 bases to Young’s 89 and did all of that in a much worse offensive environment than Young’s, so Molitor was clearly the better player by the time he reached 35 than Young is, but I can see it as a rough comp if we’re talking about what they’ve done up to this point.

But the real issue: after the age of 35, Paul Molitor played six more seasons. And in those six seasons, he did this:  .313/.374/.457. And he hit 74 homers, drove in over 500 runs, stole 92 bases and averaged 138 games and 621 plate appearances a year.  It was damn nigh supernatural production for a guy Molitor’s age, even with the DH at his disposal. NO ONE does that. Indeed, a huge part of Molitor’s Hall of Fame bonafides are attributable to him transforming from an injury prone guy to a freaking machine who produced in his late 30s and early 40s like most All-Stars produce in their prime.

We can’t expect that of Michael Young. We can’t expect that of anybody. To throw out a Paul Molitor comparison in an interview about a guy’s future performance is pretty freakin’ out there. It’s this sort of thing that is why Grant is accused of being totally in he bag when it comes to Michael Young.

And the funny thing about it: this actually does Young a disservice. Because Grant’s comp to Molitor, without noting how unlikely that kind of thing is, is going to set Young up for criticism from certain quarters, even if Young is better than we expect him to be.

  1. phillyphreak - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    I don’t know why anyone would prefer listening to WIP.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Because I’m a guest sometimes? :-)

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        Then post the exact time you’ll be on because no one wants to sit through Cataldi’s whining and Rhea Hughes (just Rhea Hughes all together).

      • delsj - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Angelo is not your friend. Angelo is nobody’s friend. If Angelo were an ice cream flavor, he’d be pralines and dick.

  2. beerjunkie69 - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Evan Grant is the worst sports media member in all of Dallas-Ft.Worth. Perhaps even all of Texas.

  3. Jeremy T - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Paul Molitor: Roider?

    • shynessismyelguapo - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      I don’t know nor do I particularly care. But the selective angry-roid mob should probably call for his expulsion from the Hall of Fame unless they want to be total hypocrites. I mean, his best years in his late 30s, constantly injured in his 20s but healthy as can be in his 30s…that’s more “evidence” than Jeff Bagwell. And when I say “more evidence”, I mean, really none at all.

      • Jeremy T - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM

        My point exactly. Thanks for putting it more verbosely and eloquently.

  4. alexo0 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Looks like Craig is in the bag for WIP…

  5. illcomm - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Youngs BA since 07 season.

    315
    284
    322
    284
    338
    277

    last year really wasn’t off the norm.

    • someguyinva - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      That’s the offensive equivalent of Saberhagen in the 80s.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      I know you guys hate Young, and that’s cool. But at least be fair. He averaged .309 the 5 years before he hit .277 last year. And hitting .277 is a terrible year because hits divided at bats don’t matter anymore. It’s all about the WAR, fWAR, dWAR, Dewar, UZR, etc, etc.

      The Phillies got a one-year stopgap before their minor league talent comes up. Period. He’s not a savior. But he is way better than Chavez the gimp & the strikeout machine Reynolds. He doesn’t strike out and that’s what they needed in this lineup. Chavez is a washed up, injured burnout who has played like 120 games the last 5 years. And Reynolds doesn’t fit with this team. Young was the best fit. Whether it works out or not, who knows. But if he hits .300 and only strikes out between 65 and 70 times, he will be just fine. Polanco didn’t have much range either. Galvez can’t hit and Frandsen stinks.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        I totally agree. Young may not work – but Chavez has not had 400 AB’s since 2006, and Reynolds….what does he really bring that Young does not. Really, all 3 are the same in my mind. And $14 mil for Youk? Pass

      • shynessismyelguapo - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        “And hitting .277 is a terrible year because hits divided at bats don’t matter anymore. It’s all about the WAR, fWAR, dWAR, Dewar, UZR, etc, etc.”

        You’re right. It doesn’t matter when it comes with A). No power, B). No walks, C). No defense. D). in one of the best hitters parks in baseball.

        I mean, in 1996, Mark Grudzielanek his .306, Barry Bonds hit .308. Barry also hit 36 more home runs, had an OBP 120 points higher, and was so comically far ahead of Grudzielanek that comparing the two just sounds silly. This is why taking batting average as a good indicator of offensive value is insane.

        I don’t need WAR to tell you that Michael Young was beyond awful last year. His .277 with no walks or power or stolen bases (as a DH nonetheless) is really terrible.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        Yes, in 1996, Mark Grudzielanek hit .306 with 201 hits, stole 33 out of 40 bases, and did just about everything he was asked to do leading off for the 2nd place Expos. But because he didn’t hit 36 more Home Runs or have an OBP 120 points higher, he sucked. OK.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        What does Reynolds bring that Young doesn’t? Boat loads of power and patience at the plate, meaning he is not a BABIP-reliant hitter and therefore is more consistent in his production.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        paperbag, Reynolds led the league in Strikeouts 4 years in a row, and would have last year if he would have had enough plate appearances. The Phillies already have enough strikeouts in the lineup. This is a case where you are trying to fit a round peg into the square hole. Young doesn’t strike out. Reynolds does. Phillies don’t need the power…they need someone who can put the ball in play, move runners, etc. Young fits better with the Phillies than Reynolds or Chavez. Now I would rather have had the Greek God of Walks for a couple years, but the Phillies obviously think they have 3B help in the Minors for 2014 and didn’t want to sign Youk for 2 years.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        Ladies and Gentleman, this man will not be playing 3rd base for the Phillies

        http://deadspin.com/5901026/mark-reynolds-is-the-worst-third-baseman-in-baseball

      • shynessismyelguapo - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        Woah, woah, hold on there Chris:

        Are you implying that Mark Grudzelaniak was as good in 1996 as Barry Bonds?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        Of course not. What I am implying is that just because a guy wasn’t Barry Bonds doesn’t mean he sucked. MG was a very good leadoff hitter in 1996 who had a very good year in my opinion. Just because “WAR” put him at 2.2, which is just .2 above a starter doesn’t make me believe he was just average. WAR is a made-up stat that uses subjective stats to base some of its value. And it gives weight to some stats just because. To me, to compare two players on the basis of WAR is misleading at best. If you want to talk about “future predictions” then yes, WAR can be a valuable stat for GMs who should use all available stats. But to use WAR to say player A had a better year than player b is ludicrous.

        For instance, some people will tell you that player A(.250 Batting Average) hit better than player B(.300 batting average) and that player B was just lucky because his BABiP was 100 points higher than player A’s. While this may be a good indicator for what will happen the following year…in other words, I would be willing to bet that luck will even out and player A will outhit player B in the following year, BABiP should have ZERO bearing on how the season actually played out. So what if player B got luckier? He still hit 50 points higher than player A.

        I like hard core Sabremetrics when they are used properly. To me, they are used properly when they are used to predict future performance, not when they are sometimes used to nitpick about how well a player did. When Ryan Howard hits 58 bombs and knocks in 148 runs, it’s a frigging historic power year, I don’t give a shit what his BABiP, FiP, dWAR, VORP, PLORP, and every other stat you want to give me. Now, when the sabremetricians of the worls beat up the Phillies for Howard’s extension, they used SABR stats for future performance predicting, and for now, they have been pretty correct. However, he was injured last year. We will see what happens this year. Either way, the Phillies have the money so it was no big deal to them. A team like the Rays, who pay over 30% of their payroll for one guy 8 years down the road…well, they are just plain stupid, but nobody calls them out on it.

        To each his/her own.

      • shynessismyelguapo - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        Okay, scanning my post to see where is said Grudzielaniak sucked…..

        …nope, nowhere in there. I think what I said was that, despite having similar batting averages, Bonds was much, much better than Grudz.

        Also, I agree, Ryan Howard’s 2006 WAS an awesome, awesome year. His 2007 and 2009 were very good years. Ryan Howard was a good baseball player. He wasn’t that overrated in the years above, but in other years, he absolutely was. When a fellow first baseman posts an OPS .233 points lower and narrowly finishes second in the MVP race (2008)…yeah, that is being pretty overrated.

        Howard is a good player, (assuming he bounces back from his awful 2012). It is possible to be overrated AND good.

      • seanmk - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:20 PM

        “The Phillies already have enough strikeouts in the lineup. This is a case where you are trying to fit a round peg into the square hole. Young doesn’t strike out. Reynolds does. Phillies don’t need the power…they need someone who can put the ball in play, move runners, etc.”

        The last three years the Phillies have been 3rd, 2nd , and 1st in LEAST amount of strikeouts in the NL. Too many strikeouts is not the problem. Power on the other hand whether slugging or home runs has been middle of the pack since 2010. Michael Young averages 102 k’s a season but really why are you focusing strictly on strikeouts?

  6. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    So what did bicepts do to get himself banned?

    • skids003 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      I’d like to know too.

      • stex52 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        He finally asked that Craig ban him. He was leaving before I started commenting much. A lot of regular guys really don’t like him. Some accusations of racism. What I mainly saw was a guy who had a lot of good opinions on baseball, but very thin skin and a total failure at anger management.

        I’m not so much into banning people, but Craig put it to an opinion poll a few months back and there wasn’t much support for bringing him back.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        Yes, Stex said it very well. Ceps’ really brough up a lot of great points, and agree or disagree with him, he made his arguments well. But then other days he was so off his rocker and the insults would fly from him….. and claims that those who disagreed with him were drug whores….and yes, the racist comments…

      • indaburg - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        I thought it was a self-imposed ban?

        I actually do miss his posts sometimes. Insane? Yes, but he was never boring.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        I thought it was a self-imposed ban?

        He originally was banned for posting some not-so-nice things. After apologizing to Craig and asking if he could be let back in, Craig allowed him. Then about a week or two later, ‘cepts realized he wouldn’t be able to maintain the stipulations that Craig asked for him to continue posting, so ‘cepts told Craig to permanently ban him.

    • Jeremy T - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      So many things…

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      I think when he was banned all of his posts went with him. He really was just a prolific poster and strong in his opinions type of guy – he just never learned that there are certain words you best not say

    • cur68 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      HB: you either love him or hate him. When sober, he’s all right. But, even sober, he has unshakable opinions many of which are unpopular and even contradictory (baseball is for AMERICANS, Dominicans & Venezuelan are all kidnappers {this one’s true}, advanced stats suck, the Philies will win every WS every year, even when the Phillies win they suck etc). Did I mention he’s a philly phan? Anyhow, another charming aspect of his personality was that he would not back down from any opinion EVER no matter how many times you point out how wrong he is. But his biggest crime (for which I’m sure he was banned the first time), he Phlip phlops between pie and cake! I mean, COME ON! Pick a side!

      Anyhow, I forget if he banned himself the last time or if Craig got wind of him using another handle or what, but I know he has A LOT to say on the topic of Mike Young’s veterany Leadership-ness thingy. To sum HB’s position up: In halladaysbicepts-world Ruben Amaro can Do No Wrong, so to do not DARE criticize the Mike Young signing.

      He sure used to light up the off season comment section. I miss all the fuss.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        That sums it up pretty well. Yeah all I remember about him is he was a huge phillie fan and that he didn’t back down from his opinions. I don’t recall any racist comments. I guess I wasn’t sure if he finally went off the deep end so they got rid of him.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        drunkcepts was the problem…he’d be fine 98% of the time, lots of posts, lots of strong opinions, loved loved loved the Phillies to no end….but then he’d get on some racist or xenophobic kick and he would spiral out of control in the matter of minutes, and got himself banned. He came back once or twice and the powers that be let him stick around a while even though they were aware of him (at least once)….but that didn’t last long, he went off the deep end again within a week or so…always the same issue that got him banned.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Yea, paperlions nailed it. 98% of the time he was great. Honestly, when I first relized he was so reviled, I was like “Huh? Dude knows his stuff, whats the problem?” Then all of a sudden you would look and it would be “WHOA! This guy is insane!”. Then it would be back to 50 posts in a row that where well argued.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        He actually isn’t much of a fan of the Michael Young signing.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:26 PM

        Yeah, I’m sure. He wasn’t big on drinking the koolaid when it came to hitting. I can see him not liking this too much. BUT don’t nobody diss on Rube. I think HB would have Rube’s babies if he could.

      • stlouis1baseball - Dec 12, 2012 at 5:16 PM

        On point once again Cur. I didn’t see your post when I answered Skids.
        Regardless…you nailed it. Personally, I think he was mostly well intentioned.
        But the drunk Cepts’ wasnt a good Cept’s. As Paper pointed out.

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 12, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Essentially, he was banned for being honest. People didn’t like his honesty.
      Granted…he was foul mouthed and he wasn’t very tolerant of those that weren’t of his…”ilk.”
      But the dude was honest. Very honest. That…was his biggest issue.
      Cur gave a great depiction of HB a long time ago.

      CUR: Care to give another run down on HB for those that don’t know or remember?

  7. vallewho - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    So what you’re saying is that Molitor was on PEDs??? …not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • ezthinking - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Check out “The Game Behind the Game: Negotiating in the Big Leagues.” Molitor’s agent Ron Simon details Molitors coke habit. There’s an excerpt in this article.

      http://seattletimes.com/html/sports/2001987767_molitor25.html

  8. wpjohnson - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    It should be pointed out that Molitor produced all those good numbers in his last years by being a half player. He was a DH about 90% of the time, coming off the bench merely to bat.

    That fact should seriously diminish his overall acyhievements. Half players deserve half praise. Molitor’s numbers should carry an asterisk. Without 3000+ hits, many as a half player, he has no business in the hall of Fame.

    • pitperc - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      So are starting pitchers 1/5th players? Starting pitchers in the AL 1/10th players?

      There’s certainly a debate to be had regarding the DH, but this ain’t it. The game gained specialization and “roles” a long time ago.

      • wpjohnson - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Starting pitchers aren’t elected to H of F based upon their hitting ability. Your argument is silly and you should know it.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        …and defensive ability is rarely considered for position players. There are dozens of horrible fielders that could mash in the HOF and dozens of fantastic fielders that were average hitters that never sniffed the HOF.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Sounds logical enough.

      Here are some other players who clearly need to be removed from the Hall of from consideration due to their careers being extended by the DH

      Reggie Jackson
      Carl Yastrzemski
      Frank Thomas
      Dave Winfield
      Jim Thome
      Eddie Murray
      Frank Robinson

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        Hey, hey, hey, don’t be moving Thome along that way quite yet. Sheesh.

  9. siftin thru nonsense - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Wouldve liked to see them get Asdrubel instead, but Young is an upgrade on a declining Polanco.

  10. buddysguys - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    ROIDS

  11. butchhuskey - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Evan Grant was so upset when Michael Young was traded that he immediately began sobbing, ate three tubs of ice cream, and played “My Heart Will Go On” on repeat. Needless to say, it was the most difficult breakup of his life.

  12. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    He wants to get 3,000 hits and make the Hall of Fame;

    If Michael Young gets in the HoF, I give up. Just induct everyone…

    • Jeremy T - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      I mean, I would like to do those things, too, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen…

    • shynessismyelguapo - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      You know, of all the handringing over Jim Rice and potentially Jack Morris, both of whom are not good choices for the Hall of Fame at all, you could at least say “Well, at least they aren’t the worst player in the Hall!”.

      If Michael Young were to make the hall (which he almost certainly won’t), *he literally would be the worst player in the hall of Fame*. His 22 WAR is tied with that of Waner (whichever one wasn’t the awesome on, I can never remember which is which unless I look it up) for the lowest WAR of a HOF.

      • Jeremy T - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        he’d probably get at least a little bit more before he retired, but 2nd worst isn’t really something to strive for either

  13. rjmarrella - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I live in Philly and we have spent less time talking about Young than you have.

  14. lmoneyfresh - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Oh man, another story about Michael Young. Don’t have enough of these…

  15. clydeserra - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Esteban Loiza would be interested to note that Michael Young had not been traded before the age of 35.

  16. historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    But, how’s his makeup?

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      Flawless.

  17. hardjudge - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    We Ranger fans called Michael Young, AO, for automatic out when it counted.

  18. Chris K - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Wasn’t Young traded for the first time TO the Rangers from Toronto?

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